Packing for Your Move – Tips from Moving Pros

Packing is probably the most dreaded aspect of the moving process. By using our helpful guide, you will feel more secure in knowing that your possessions will get to your new address in one piece and into the correct room. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to find everything when the time comes to unpack and get settled. If you feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to complete this task properly, we will be happy to provide complete packing as well as unpacking per request.

General Tips and Recommendations

Pack one room at a time. This will help you when it comes time to unpack.

  • Do not procrastinate or underestimate how much you own. Pack a couple of boxes a day, starting well ahead of the move.
  • Make sure all of your boxes have lids. Label all of the boxes – kitchen, bedroom, living room, office etc. – or color coordinate. This saves time and makes unloading and unpacking much easier.
  • Consolidate smaller items into boxes and small boxes into bigger ones. This reduces the number of trips we have to make.
  • Pack books, magazines, and other heavy items in boxes no larger than 1.5 cubic feet. Larger, bulkier but lighter items go into bigger boxes. Try to keep box weight to a maximum of 50 pounds or less; it makes moving a lot easier. A general rule to remember is the heavier the item, the smaller the box. Keep in mind that somebody will have to be able to lift it. If the box is too heavy, the bottom can break and damage the contents.


Packing Materials

Use materials that are correct for the job. Used boxes from a local store won’t protect your possessions the way they should. Big City Moving Co. has a full range of boxes & packing supplies that you’ll need. Choosegood quality small cartons and corrugated boxes rather than heavy trunks and wooden boxes. Avoid using masking tape to seal cartons. It is not strong enough hold weight.

Packing Station

Set up a packing area. Gather materials such as 2″ wide packing tape, boxes/cartons, markers or stickers for labeling, newspaper, unprinted newsprint and scissors. Use the unprinted paper for inner wrapping and use newspaper for cushioning or as outer wrapping (it tends to leave ink marks).

Pack First

Out of season items or those that are used infrequently should be packed first. Start in attics, basements and garages.
Valuable Items like jewelry, cash, coins, personal papers/documents, collectibles, highly sentimental items and other valuable items should not be packed and should remain in your possession at all times.


Begin by layering the bottom of a box with two or three inches of crumpled paper. Put heavier things on the bottom and the lighter items on top. Between each layer, put a supporting base of crumpled paper or sheets of cardboard.

Over packing

Don’t overcrowd boxes. Professionals pack boxes so that each article will cushion another. The top of the box should close with light pressure.

Under packing

Pack boxes snugly and securely. Wrap items that could be scratched. Use crumpled paper to fill in the empty spaces and fill cartons to the top. Avoid under packing boxes. When a box is under packed, the contents tend to shift in the box or get crushed when stacked.


Write the contents of each box on the outside. Be specific. Mark the short side of each box with the room the box belongs in. Since boxes are stacked, the top markings may not be visible. A simple way to make unloading and unpacking easier is to choose a color for each room. Label each box that belongs to a specific room with the corresponding color.

Canned Goods and Non-Frozen Food

Pack upright with no more than 24-30 cans per box. Don’t attempt to move perishables. Wrap glass containers and boxed foods individually and pack in small cartons.

Frozen Foods and Plants

Because of the delicate and perishable nature of these items, your mover is prohibited from accepting these packed items when your shipment is being transported more than 150 miles and/or delivery will not be accomplished within twenty-four (24) hours from the time of loading. Frozen food shipped within these guidelines must be packed in a freezer which at time of loading is at normal deep-freeze temperature. Under no circumstance will these be insured.

Mirrors, Paintings and Pictures

Mirrors and pictures require special handling and boxes designed for them. Tell your move consultant about valuable paintings for special care. Wrap small mirrors, pictures, paintings and frames and place on edge in cartons. Place large pictures and paintings on edge in heavy cardboard containers. Large wall or dresser mirrors will be taken down by the movers and placed in special boxes or wrapped them in thick, quilted furniture pads. For added safety, place tape diagonally across mirror to protect better against damage. Do not place newspaper directly against paintings.

Dresser Drawers

In most cases, you can leave your clothes in the drawers. As long as they are not to heavy or over packed. Too heavy a load can cause damages. Anything breakable, spillable, or that could damage other items should be emptied from drawers. Always empty furniture made of particleboard or pressboard. These items are simply too fragile.

Lamps and Lampshades

Wrap lamp bases after removing the light bulb and any hardware thatmay cause damage. Wrap lampshades in inkless paper or with a pillow case (do not use newspaper because the print will mark the shade). Line the bottom of the box with crumpled paper and leave two inches of empty space between the sides of the carton and the lampshade. Pack lampshades in separate cartons. Torchiere lamps should be disassembled and boxed.

Computers, Audio and Video Components, Home Electronics

Pack valuable electronic equipment in original packaging when available. Otherwise, use strong, corrugated cartons and place protective padding on the bottom of the carton. Wrap an old blanket or protective pad around the item and place it in its box. Place additional padding between the box and the computer or device. Wrap cords separately. Label to identify usage and place in a plastic bag away from delicate surfaces. Non-detachable cords should also be wrapped. Place cords between the padded device and the box.

Flat Screen Televisions

How to pack flat screen televisions depends on the size of the TV. If you have the original box the TV came in, that’s usually ideal. Otherwise, layers of soft, non-abrasive fabrics, with cardboard over the fabric is a common method. If your TV is of high value it’s best to have your Big City Moving Company moving consultant help with this.

Fragile items

Wrap fragile, breakable articles such as china, crystal, and figurines using at least three layers of paper per item. Wrap each one firmly, but loosely enough to provide a cushioning effect. On smaller items, use colored wrapping paper to draw Attention to them when you are unpacking. Pack all items of extraordinary value and antiques according to specifications and be sure to label them FRAGILE and make your move consultant and moving crew aware of them. In most cases it is best to move these items your self. This includes all expensive artwork, pictures, mirrors etc.


Wrap each piece in cloth or low sulfur content paper to prevent tarnishing. Use an old blanket or moving pad as a wrap to prevent scratching the silverware chest.

Packing China and Dishes


  • Select a medium-sized box (or mover provided dish pack) and line the bottom of the carton with crumpled packing paper.
  • With packing paper stacked neatly in place on a worktable, center one plate on the paper.
  • Grasp a corner on several sheets of packing paper and pull the paper over the plate until sheets completely cover the plate. Stack a second plate on and, moving clockwise, grasp a second corner and pull sheetsover the second plate.
  • Stack a third plate. Grasp remaining two corners, folding two sheets of each corner (one at a time) over the plate.
  • Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper.
  • Re-wrap the entire bundle: start with one corner of packing paper and pull two sheets over the bundle, cover bundle with next corner, then the third corner; and finally, the fourth.
  • Seal the bundle with packing tape.
  • Place the bundle of dishware in the box so that the plates are standing on edge.


* Use this process on all saucers, bread and butter dishes, and other dishware. When packing smaller dishes, you may choose to stack in greater quantity.

Packing Cups and Mugs


  • With packing paper in place on the worktable, position one cup six to eight inches from one of the corners.
  • Now pull the near corner of the paper up and over the cup.
  • Nest a second cup directly on top, with handle to left (second cup should “nest” itself in packing paper folded over the bottom cups).
  • Pull the two side corners up and over, one at a time, and tuck corners inside the top cup.
  • Hold the bottom and top cup in position and roll cups to the remaining corner. Fragile mixing bowls may be rolled in the same manner.
  • Delicate cups, like china, should be wrapped one at a time. Antique glass or china should be stuffed with crumpled tissue and wrapped one at a time.

Packing Glasses and Stemware


  • Stuff glasses and stemware with crumpled tissue or packing paper before wrapping.
  • Lay on the corner of packing paper and roll it one or two full rotations (depending on size); pull sides of packing paper up and over glass/stemware and continue rolling to the far corner. Corrugated paper rolls or cellular boxes may be used for added protection.
  • Place glasses and stemware toward the top of your box. Heavier items (dishware, pitchers, etc.) should be placed toward the bottom of the box.
  • Delicate glassware and stemware should be placed in an upright position, not on its side.



  • Remove or secure pendulum in large clocks. Grandfather clocks should be prepared for moving by expert servicemen. Please make your move consultant aware of these items.

xWarning! Please read the following information regarding hazardous chemicals and dangerous items.

Absolutely do not pack hazardous materials like paint, turpentine, pressurized cans, any flammable liquid, explosives or propane tanks. The law forbids movers to carry these items. If you pack them and they cause a fire, you are liable. It’s too great a risk, so throw or give away anything that could cause a hazard.

As moving day approaches, you may find that you haven’t had as much time to devote to packing as you had hoped. If this is the case, call your move consultant as far in advance as possible. Big City Moving can arrange to provide you with packing assistance.